by Rick Wolf of The B&B Team
“Building Your Brand” is a key component of your overall marketing strategy. When we talk about your brand, we are not simply talking about imprinting your logo on everything. We are talking about your Inn’s identity. In the simplest of terms, this is about your building an Emotional Connection with your guest through your brand. Did I just hear someone say, “What is he talking about?” “What is an emotional connection?” “Why is it important?”
Fair enough. We all work in the fascinating and wonderful world of hospitality, and this is all about you, increasing your business, and your bottom line. We will focus on five ingredients to Building Your Brand and Creating an Emotional Connection with your Guest.
YOUR BRAND AND ITS AUTHENTICITY: What is your brand? What does your brand stand for? What separates your brand from all the others? You need to be crystal clear and obsessively focused on examining your brand to answer these questions. Then your brand must be constantly reinforced through everything you do to maintain its integrity and authenticity. Remember, great brands (Inns) are always being improved and refined…not changed, but improved.
YOU: You are the face of your business to the public and also just as importantly to your community. Marketing yourself is an essential ingredient to your business success. Are you as visible to the community as you are to your guests? Are you involved? If the answer is yes, then you are on your way. If the answer is no, then today is not too late to start getting involved. Since you are the keeper of the brand, it is essential that you be an active participant in the health and nurturing of it.
YOUR SIGNATURE ITEMS: These are the special touches, recipes, amenities, and services that are yours and yours alone. Signature items don’t always need to be exotic or unusual. A signature item could be something as simple as a special and uniquely prepared breakfast menu, offered every Sunday morning, 52 weeks a year. Guests can be made aware of these signatures via your website, and repeat guests will come back to your property looking forward to enjoying them again and again. Caution! Your signature items must to be yours, they must be special, and they must be real and unique. When all of these criteria are met, you then have a true signature item that supports your brand.
YOUR LEGACY: We’re now well into fortifying your brand’s strength and building the emotional connection with your guests. Your history is your legacy. Your actions create your legacy. Whether this is your first season or your 21st season, your actions and expressions of hospitality, the sharing of good times, and creating community roots are all a part of your legacy. It is so easy to forget this, but this component, too, is ever so important as a part of your brand.
YOUR PROMISE: Your promise is one that is uniquely yours. You are marketing your brand, yourself, your signature items and legacy into a promise of guest satisfaction that is supported and sustained by your product (your inn and your brand). To restate: you are making a promise of satisfaction that is supported by the excellence of your inn. This is a promise that only you can make…not your neighbors…not your competitors…only you!
These five components will help to create your brand and, through them, allow you to build that important emotional connection with your guest. The people who stay with you are not just your customers but are your guests in the truest sense of the word…they are visiting company in your home. You have invited them to share an experience with you, your Brand, your Signature Items, your Legacy and your Promise. Very personal experiences are things you share with guests…and this is precisely what you are doing.
Your inn, regardless of technology, WiFi, flat screen TV’s, smart phones, etc. is an escape from the daily reality of the times we live in. B&B’s and Country Inns are a reminder of good times, romantic times, and maybe even a simpler time too. You and your brand, effectively and genuinely marketed, can capitalize on these experiences and cement this emotional connection with your guest. When effectively done, your guests will be back again and again and in the process, they will be referring you to their family and friends.
The cultivating, nurturing, care and feeding of your brand should help to make it the single most important tool in your marketing arsenal. The B&B Team welcomes the opportunity to discuss your brand with you and to assist you in making your brand the brand of choice as you build that ever important emotional connection with your guests.